Federal court weighs Trump administration's authority to set Medicaid work requirements

The Trump administration defended Medicaid work rules in federal court Thursday in a dispute that ultimately centered on defining what the purpose of the program should be.

The changes the Trump administration approved to Medicaid, which provides government-funded medical coverage, test the limits of the administration's authority to alter the program from its Obamacare expansion, and will have rippling effects in states.

At issue were rules the Trump administration approved in Arkansas and Kentucky that obligate people to work, volunteer, or take classes for 80 hours a month as a condition of being allowed to remain in Medicaid. The Trump administration has let states implement the rules, but plaintiffs say they are illegal.

By the end of the oral arguments, Federal Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia agreed that the two cases were linked and said he planned to issue a decision on the cases before April 1. The decisions may be appealed and eventually make it to the Supreme Court.

The administration argued that Medicaid, a program that is jointly funded by states and the federal government, could go beyond providing healthcare coverage and instead help beneficiaries improve their lives by earning more money and securing private health insurance coverage. The plaintiffs, people who said they were harmed by Medicaid rules, argued that the purpose instead was to extend healthcare coverage.

 Read more at Washington Examiner

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